Well, we didn't need to ask Casey about how many fish he's caught thus far. As we were approaching his boat, he set the hook, fought a fish to the boat and flipped it in. It was a solid 2 1/2- to 3-pound fish. He tossed it in the livewell then chucked a smaller fish back into The Bend. So, Ashley will spend the rest of the day upgrading.
We found Casey Ashley at the mouth of a main-lake creek. As he mentioned yesterday, he has the area all to himself. I can't tell what he's throwing, but he seems to be crawling it along the edge of the creek channel. We will try to move close enough to ask him if there are any bass aboard.
We are back down toward San Miguel, but on the Texas side, and ran into Alton Jones. He caught what appeared to be a small keeper and put it in the livewell. Still no sign of Herren.
The Elites hit the water for Day Three on Toledo Bend.
Kevin VanDam quietly set another Elite Series record yesterday. He made the cut to the Top 50 for the 17th consecutive time. The record he broke was his own. KVD went 16 straight between 2008 and 2010 before having a couple of finishes in the 50s at Clear Lake and Pickwick. After that, he started the streak that's still alive.
Dennis Tietje said he thinks Brent Chapman may well be on the winning spot. Near the mouth of a creek on the Louisiana side, he is situated on one of the most pronounced ridge extensions before the drop to the main river channel. No grass nearby to stop the bass as they move out here to set up and chase bait. Zona says that Brent feels great about this place as well, but it's definitely going a little slower than yesterday, when he had most of his 25 pounds.
Matt "needle" Herren is fishing somewhere on Toledo "haystack" Bend. He's not in San Miguel. Yusuke Miyazaki is fishing here, though. He has one in the livewell and says the striper bite is great! We heard that Herren might have gone farther north, so we are heading that way.
We've left Ott and moved to Brent Chapman just as he is boating his fifth keeper fish for 14-15 total. He's throwing a jig in about 30 feet of depth. He's understandably upbeat about his whole situation, beginning with his Open win to start the season - qualifying for the Classic and freeing him up to be as aggressive as he wants.
I mentioned earlier how important timing will be in this event. On a lake where summertime patterns play a part, that is always a consideration. From anecdotal evidence from our anglers, it seems the bite picks up later in the day, so being at the right spot at the right time is something they are all fighting to do.
We believe Brent Chapman now has four bass in the boat; he added a 3-pounder about 8 a.m. A catch like that is encouraging — and that's always important — but in order to match the 25-pound, 8-ounce bag Chapman had yesterday, there's not much leeway for a 3-pounder at the end of the day. The sun has cleared the clouds now. Chapman is so methodically working this area, I'd doubt that any amount of sunshine will blow his cool.